VOL. 118 | NO. 54 | Wednesday, March 31, 2004
What could be considered the main intersection of Memphis riverfront is
rapidly becoming the subject of lively discussion and
Memphis Salon Offers European Flair
The Daily News
For nearly 40 years, Memphians have had their hair colored,
cut and styled at Bermel Hair Salon, located in the Chickasaw Crossing shopping
The full-service shop has 17 employees, seven of whom are
part of the family that opened the shop, natives of the Netherlands.
Changing plans. The idea of moving permanently from
Doornenburg, Holland, to Memphis let alone co-owning and managing a business
was not Hans Bermels original intention.
In the early 1960s, 18-year-old Bermel left home to visit
his older brother, August, who had moved to Florida and taken a job at a salon.
Hans, one of 12 siblings, initially came to America as a tourist.
Soon, however, the brothers were introducing European
hairstyles at an existing international salon in Memphis, where they proudly
relayed stories of their homeland while establishing a customer base.
I thought I would come here a couple of years and go back
home, but once youre here in America and you see how great the country is,
going back is not an option, Bermel said. America truly is the land of
On their own. The Bermel brothers eventually opened
their salon at the corner of Poplar Avenue and Avalon Street.
We were having success and became well-known enough for our
work that we thought, Why dont we give it a try ourselves? Bermel said.
Eventually, August left the business, but other siblings,
including Peter, Jozef and Annamarie, moved from Holland to help run the store.
Later, second-generation relatives Nicole, Angelique and Amy also began working
at the store.
The salon has changed locations twice, but has been at its
current site since about 1990. Bermel said the salon handles about 500
While other salons have moved east, we stayed put in
Midtown, and that has made a big difference, he said.
The salon employs 10 stylists, two manicurists, three
technicians and two managers.
Beyond hairdos. Although Bermel said the salons
prices tend to be higher than many chain salons, the shop offers more for the
Here, we tend to be more of a higher-end salon, but we put
an emphasis on quality, he said. We are not an assembly-line place of
business. Were also about more than just getting a haircut. There are times in
customers lives that they want to come in here and have someone listen to them
and their lifes worries, and we enjoy doing that.
International link. Like many Europeans, the Bermels
are passionate about soccer or football, as the sport is known in most of the
In the early 1970s, Bermel was a key figure in establishing
the citys first youth soccer league. Through the sport, he has made and
improved international connections between the Memphis community and Holland
where brother Heinz runs a similar salon.
About 10 years ago, Hans and a brother returned home to
celebrate their mothers 80th birthday. While visiting, the family played with
friends against a local club team; soon, about 50 club players flew to Memphis
for a return match and to tour the city.
In a few months, Bermel will travel to Manchester, England,
to watch a pro game thanks to an arrangement made by Bermel client Laura
Cianciola, who recently married European soccer star Tim Howard.
Home sweet home. Bermel said though business remains
strong and steady, he doesnt plan to open a second store at least not in the
If I could find more employees like I have here now, I
might, he said.
He has considered trying to recruit new employees from
Europe. However, international travel restrictions make those efforts
difficult, he said.
Bermels dual love for America and the Netherlands led him
to obtain dual citizenship.
I continue to go back home for visits, but the fact that I
never moved back speaks volumes about how I feel, he said. America is my
Bermel Hair Salon
Owner: Hans Bermel
Basics: The family-owned salon has brought European
style and high-quality service to Memphis for more than 30 years.